NCWGF 2016 – An Interview with Emily Yau from Ebury, Penguin Random House


I work at Penguin Random house and inside that I work every which is predominantly a nonfiction division but I work in fiction where it is just the two of us, so it’s quite We like to call it “boutique” that we we don’t publish a lot But what we do publish is high quality What I like about working at Ebury is that I have the freedom to go up to books I really like and that I’m passionate about. I don’t have any Quantities that have you need to buy crime books we need to buy science fiction I can go across all the genres really so I work on commercial fiction And for me what I’m most excited about the moment is I really like dark thrillers, and they’re doing really well at the moment So that’s really good that I can kind of go after the books that I’m passionate about. I just announced today actually a book that I bought recently which was Basically the picture is Love Actually meets Black mirror So it’s like a dark psychological thriller with a very kind of science fiction twist. It’s so good. Haha I’ll only Publish nothing that I’m really behind So I mean I can buy three books in one week or I can wait ages before I find the next thing That I love so I’ve got a lot of freedom in that respect so I think because of that because I’m buying things I Absolutely adore I’m putting all of myself into it and obviously we you know there are time constraints But I don’t let that get past me, I will always put everything into it Just because I love them so much, and you know it’s something that I want to do well It’s not Publishing because people are asking for this it’s you know it’s my… they’re like my baby’s essentially I think it’s interesting in commercial fiction because you’re less guided by The writing and what you’re getting and for me is much more on an emotional level so if it gets me I’m very responsive to how my gut feels, so if I acquire a manuscript or if I laugh that’s a really good sign that I absolutely love it. So it’s not very helpful. You know There’s no kind of tick box of what I’m looking for but it’s just how I respond I think it’s a good thing and what I tell authors is that I’m not really that fussed of your writing isn’t quite up To speed because if I am emotionally connected with it I still really want to work on it cause you can you can edit books and you can help make them better But you can’t give a book heart, if it hasn’t really got it. So, for me It’s much more about how I connect the story and how I connect with the characters So really I’m just looking for things I can fall in love with as actual readers are as well I’ve had some really varied pictures today in lots of different genres which has been really interesting and I think Everyone I’ve spoken to has been a really good chat, and you know people are pitching very well today and I think part of that is just like people are so passionate about their books and I think the thing that stands out the Most when I’m looking back on them is How much they loved their book and how much they wanted to talk about it so again You know if you haven’t worked out your perfect elevator pitch that’s fine because for me. I just want to hear them talk about their characters There was a lady earlier you can send out talk about one of the romantic leads And she was saying I’ve actually fallen in love with myself and like that sounds silly I said that’s not silly at all that is that’s what you want You want to fall in love with characters and feel like they’re real so that’s what stands out the most Obviously when people have a sense of the market and where it sits comparable authors. That’s really useful as well And it just shows that they know about their book and they’ve given it a lot of thought It’s really important that we talk about this north-south divide because for me publishing has always been so southern based and I’m well I’m from Birmingham, so kind of a pseudo-northerner but I went to this Uni I went to Manchester, so I feel very much a northerner at heart Don’t know I feel like I get a lot more submissions from Southern authors and I don’t know if that’s You know kind of class thing or I don’t know but it’s something that the publishing industry is looking at the moment You know we’ve got a penguin random house. We’ve got ‘Right now’ Which is based on trying to get people from different backgrounds and different ethnicities to get into writing and kind of encourage them to you know feel like they don’t have any barriers between publication. I think it’s really important to come up here Because you know a lot can afford or don’t have time to come down to London to meet with agents and publishers So I think it’s really great to meet people face to face and talk about their experiences and their stories, and yeah, I think it’s really important to Get rid of that barrier. My favorite book of this year is actually people don’t talk about it enough and I think that’s it’s a shame. It’s called ‘Girls on Fire’ by Robin Wasserman, (I think that’s how you pronounce it, I don’t know) it was such a good book It’s a coming-of-age novel With a very dark heart, it’s got a bit of a mean girls vibe About just how you can be at that age when your life, at 16, you can get influenced by these very Disruptive girls and just how you idolize them and how it leads you into a path of destruction But it was just so well-written beautiful writing, and it’s stuck with me and that doesn’t really happen a lot. That’s my favorite book of the year. you

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